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⛳ PGA DFS Picks: Data Driven Analysis for the Waste Management Phoenix Open | DraftKings

Jason Rouslin

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PGA DFS Picks for DraftKings and FanDuel AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AM

PGA DFS is filled with tons of useful information, but at times it can be overwhelming. The Awesemo golf team created a format to provide one condensed article that will analyze the four most important statistics for daily fantasy golf. This statistical overview will focus on recent form, course history, strokes gained and old-school statistics. In each category, I will provide notes and a data sheet to help with your PGA DFS picks for DraftKings and FanDuel contests. This week we’re focusing on The Waste Management Phoenix Open.

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Waste Management Phoenix Open PGA DFS Data & Picks

Recent Form

We’ll use the last 10 tournaments, including the Masters, to complete our dataset this week.

Sungjae Im has played in all eight events. I guess it’s not that shocking, but it included a trip overseas, a trip to Maui, San Diego and now Phoenix. He has two top-10s, four top-25s and only one missed cut in that stretch. No one else even has seven starts, but 27 golfers have six.

Surprisingly only 15 golfers have multiple top-10s coming into the week, and only two golfers have three: Jon Rahm and Harris English. Among the others with multiple top-10s and three top-25s are Corey Conners, Billy Horschel, Carlos Ortiz, Patton Kizzire, Justin Thomas, Webb Simpson, Xander Schauffele, Rory McIlroy and Daniel Berger. 

Last week it looked like both Beau Hossler and Kevin Tway were in great shape to break their streak of four straight missed cuts after good rounds on the North Course Thursday. But the South Course tore them apart on Friday, and both suffered their fifth loss in a row. Hopefully a trip to the desert will change their fortunes.


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Course History at The Waste Management Phoenix Open

While there may not be hundreds of thousands of fans attending the event this year, the course still stays the same and provides the same on-course experience as it does each year. Since the glorious year of 1987, the tour has gone to Scottsdale, Ariz. for this tournament.

Only Hideki Matsuyama has competed in every playing of the Waste Management since 2014, and that includes two wins, a withdraw while leading the tournament  and four other top-16s. Bubba Watson isn’t far behind either, having played seven times and coming in the top 10 four times, matching Matsuyama. They are the only two in the field with more than three.

Six others check in this week with at least three top-10s here since 2014: Rahm, Simpson, Berger, Matt Kuchar, Rickie Fowler and Martin Laird. All of those golfers have at last four top-25s here as well, and they are joined by Thomas, Byeong Hun An and Brendan Steele as the only golfers to do so.

A former winner here, Kyle Stanley will look to change his recent stumbles here this week, as he’s missed five of the last seven cuts here, including his last three. Cameron Tringale hasn’t made a cut here since 2014 in five appearances.

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Strokes Gained 

Strokes gained is the best metric by which to measure and predict the tour for PGA DFS purposes. This is where we make our money on DraftKings and FanDuel. Strokes gained can primarily be broken down into four categories: Off the tee, on the approach, around the green and putting. For this review, we are foregoing other categories such as strokes gained ball striking (which combines strokes gained off the tee and on approach) or short game (which combines around-the-green and putting data).

This week I’ll be changing up the data provided here. I’m going to be discussing how many times golfers have gained over a stroke on average for each of the four categories. Let’s take a look.


For more strokes gained information, check out Awesemo’s Strokes Gained Tool, which has all of this information and more for both DraftKings and FanDuel PGA DFS contests! Click Here.


I am going back 27 weeks, which should include roughly 20-25 tournaments.

Strokes Gained off the Tee

Watson is one of the most consistent golfers off the tee, even with the 10-15 years of age he has on most of the guys around him. He trails just Rahm in terms of percentage of starts where he gains at least 1 stroke at 40%, while Rahm is at 42.8%. Others that do this on average of at least 25% or more are Will Zalatoris, Cameron Champ, McIlroy, Sam Burns, Luke List and John Huh. 

Strokes Gained on the Approach

While the top three golfers in this category have rather limited starts, including Zalatoris and Camilo Villegas, others like Henrik Norlander, Doc Redman, Russell Henley and Sam Ryder are definitely a batch of names I didn’t expect to see leading the way. Each of those aforementioned golfers has competed at least 15 times and gained at least 1 stroke on their approaches in at least 38% of them.

Strokes Gained Around the Green

If one is trying to understand strokes gained and where a golfer is most likely to do it, a great tell is observing the number of times a golfer gains over a stroke in a specific category. Gaining strokes around the green is incredibly difficult, especially at a large margin. Only 25 golfers in the whole field have done it multiple times. Compare that to an average of 80 on the approach side, 31 off the tee and 67 with the putter.

There are only four golfers that have at least nine starts in this database that gain over a stroke in at least 20% of their starts. They are Luke Donald, Matsuyama and James Hahn. 

Strokes Gained Putting

Anyone can hit the ball as well as they want, but if they cannot put the ball in the hole, ultimately there is little chance at winning. No golfers have been consistently hot with their putters than Berger and Brendon Todd, as they have gained over a stroke in over 40% of their starts. Ten others are above 30%, including Simpson, Schauffele, English and Kizzire. Others you may not think would be there are Louis Oosthuizen, Bo Hoag, Patrick Rodgers, Austin Cook and Pat Perez. 

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For the yearly strokes gained ranks, Click here.

Old School Statistics for PGA DFS Analysis 

Before strokes gained statistics were invented, the focus was on data like greens in regulation and driving distance/accuracy. The old standards can still help develop a player’s profile further, helping us identify potential strengths and weaknesses. I’ve chosen my five favorite old-school statistics for this week’s Farmers Insurance Open. Four of these will come from a corollary statistic to the strokes gained category, and we will add one additional scoring statistic. I’ve listed each golfer along with their ranking in the statistical category.

Total Driving

Gary Woodland (1), Rahm (4), Berger (5), Simpson (6), Redman (9), Scheffler (13), Oosthuizen (13)

Greens in Regulation

Conners (4), Woodland (5), Rahm (6), Adam Hadwin (7), McIlroy (8), Schauffele (10), Hahn (12), English (14)

Proximity to Hole

Thomas (4) McIlroy (6), Matsuyama (7), Steele, Ryan Palmer, Jason Dufner (9)

Putting from 15-20 Feet

Woodland (6), McIlroy, (7) Thomas (8), Andrew Putnam (10), Scheffler (13), Simpson (14), Ortiz (15)

Par 4 Scoring 400-450 yards

Simpson (1) Matt Kuchar (3) Hadwin (4) Champ (5) Matsuyama (6) Scheffler (7)

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Data-Driven PGA DFS picks for Farmers Insurance Open

I know that was a lot of information to digest. At the end of each weekly article, I will provide a trio of names that appear with positive data in at least two of the four sections we reviewed and make for good PGA DFS picks on DraftKings and FanDuel.

  1. Jon Rahm (shows up in all four)
  2. Webb Simpson (shows up in all four)
  3. Daniel Berger (shows up in all four)

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Jason established his roots in the littlest state that could...Rhode Island. But after 29 years of bitter cold, and only being able to play golf 4 months a year, upended those roots and moved to Florida. Now two years later, Jason is a husband to Sarah and father of James as well as two Labradors (Choco and Bella) and he dedicates his time to serve as the lead of PGA content at Awesemo.com. In the time he is not diving into the PGA stats and covering this week's current tournament, you can find him researching and trading stocks, on the golf course, or somewhere hopefully lost in nature with his dogs guiding him along the way. Want to chat? Have a question about Golf/Stocks or anything else? Hop on twitter and give him a message @dfsgolfer23. You can also contact Jason by emailing support@awesemo.com.

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